I sat with a friend who had an aversion to church. Her words were tense, laced with hurt and anger. She said she hated the hypocrisy. The pious acts void of love. People pretending to have it all together; lying only to themselves. She had witnessed many fall from grace. She vowed never to return. I listened. I understood. My heart broke for her. Her aversion to organized religion and all things spiritual had caused a toxic divide in her heart. Her faith in God was shattered.
Months later. I notice something changing. Her heart is softening. In a season of great despair, she’s been sensing a pull to Jesus. She tried to shake it off. She ignored it. Instead of fading, it grew. She knows it’s God. I listen. I understand. I rejoice! We’re on a journey towards spiritual healing.
Here’s the deal, I say, some people don’t represent God very well. When we mess up, we blame God. I ask her to put all her ideas on pause and reorient her thinking. What if church is really a hospital–a place where people come to get healed. A place where we anticipate sick, broken, messy, flawed people being radically healed because that is what Jesus came to do! What if…
It’s been a beautiful journey for the both of us. She’s opened her heart to Jesus and is experiencing a life of great awe and joy. It was a process. A journey of love. A journey of trust. Trust that the Spirit in me would light up the darkness in her. He showed up and showed off!
So, dear church, can we all just start over? Wouldn’t it be awesome if churches and people got real? What if, instead of featuring the highlights, we’d start with the mess of it. What if websites began with:
We’re a motley crew of dysfunctional people trying to figure this Christian life out and we mess up often. We’re learning to think of others above ourselves and it’s been really hard. It takes practice. Someone will probably hurt you or offend you, but not intentionally. We are not perfect, we’re being perfected. Please be patient!
We have people experiencing crisis, serious health issues, financial ruin, wayward children, addictions, and death of loved ones….that’s just the beginning. We have new believers and mature believers navigating as best they can, stepping on toes along the way. We turn it into a dance of grace. There’s a lot of baggage, wounds, and sins that people bring with them, we don’t have you check your baggage at the door – we encourage you to bring it in – it’s what Jesus did! We love to watch as Christ gently removes the unnecessary and burdensome baggage and replaces it with His truth.
It may get messy (actually, it will), it will be uncomfortable, but Jesus died to expose the mess so that HE could clean it up….it’s His great pleasure! We believe the Gospel is the power of God in our midst bringing salvation and restoration to everyone who believes! It’s what the abundant life is all about (John 10:10)
So, please bear with us! Be willing to get messy without getting wounded. It requires thicker skin, abundant mercy, humility, surrender and people who won’t give up when the going gets tough.
The bottom line is we love Jesus! We are devoted to Him! LOVE is our foundation and we cling to the cross! We cling because if not, we’d be a hopeless mess! We’re quick to forgive, because we realize unforgiveness is a poison. We acknowledge Jesus has forgiven the inexcusable in us and we follow His example. We believe forgiveness is the foundation of freedom in Christ.
If you feel tired, broken, and empty, if shame and condemnation weigh heavy, if you have skeletons in your closet, join us!
If you don’t know about the Bible or Jesus, join us!
If you know about the Bible and Jesus but want more, join us!
If you have a feeble prayer life and a shallow faith, join us!
You probably won’t fit in if you think you have it all together. If you don’t, join us!
Come as you are, bring your baggage and stay a while!
You are loved.